Explore the most popular dog friendly trails near Pinecrest with hand-curated trail maps and driving directions as well as detailed reviews and photos from hikers, campers and nature lovers like you.

Backpacked the loop clockwise two weeks ago. As soon as we hit the pass before Piute Lake, mosquitos became unbearable. Camped the first night at Gem Lake and regretted that decision. We woke up early and had a great second day fishing Rainbows in Buck Meadow Creek and Cherry Creek West Fork. Camped at Grouse Lake second night and bugs were still bad but much better than Gem. We caught three Brown at dusk and one Rainbow at sunrise. Can’t wait to check out this area again without the skeeters.

Did this as an overnight backpacking trip with 8 in mid September 2017. Perfect hike for some first time backpackers that were on the trip. The trail is well marked and there are plenty of scenic spots to stop. We started around noon and made it to camp leisurely far before sunset. The southeast side of Bear Lake was pretty crowded since we started late. We continued clockwise off trail to the northeast side of the lake and were able to find a nice, secluded spot to camp.

Spent the Friday night before an Pinecrest campground, a great campground 30-40min drive from the trailhead.

We went on this trail just before 4th of July of this year (2018). We started at Kennedy Meadows at about 1:20 PM, and the hike up to Relief Reservoir was about 3 hours (including plenty of rests). We found a campsite along the eastern side of the lake, just south of where Grouse Creek enters the lake. There were several other people around, but the sites are spread out enough to allow plenty of privacy. Plenty of water in Grouse Creek, but it was relatively easy to cross without getting wet.

We camped here for two nights. Water in the Relief Reservoir was cool, but warm enough for good swimming. Mosquitoes were minimal (we felt lucky!) and it was really a pretty great spot to relax.

We did a dayhike on our second day, continuing on the trail toward the south, and bearing left at the V to head up toward Lunch Meadow. We didn't hike that far though....just went up over 8000 feet to where the trail meets back up with Summit Creek. We picnicked here, and swam in the river in a nice deep swimming hole (it was freezing). Then we hiked back down to our same campsite, which was quick since it was mostly downhill.

On our third day we hiked back down to our car at Kennedy Meadows. It only took 2 hours hiking down, with lighter packs and mainly downhill.

Trails were fairly busy, especially on the first day (Sunday). This included hikers and horses. We had our dog with us, and it was nice that there were several small creeks that she was able to drink from as we walked. Near Relief Reservoir we saw deer and squirrels and there were definitely lots of fish in the water too.

The trail is beautiful, especially in the last 0.75 miles approaching the reservoir. Beautiful views!

hiking
14 days ago

This hike is gorgeous, but the reviews and distance on here are a tad misleading. We started at the trailhead parking lot which is 1/4 mile from the general store. From the general store it is around 1.5 miles to the actual trailhead past the campground. From the trailhead it is around 7.5 miles to Kennedy Lake. Round trip to the lake from the trailhead parking lot was a little over 18 miles.
As far as terrain, around mile 2 there is some steep hiking (not too bad) but after that it levels out. It is mostly sand you’re walking on past that point due to the horses breaking down the trail. The last few miles are through meadows so there is some wetland you’re walking through. As you approach the old log cabin the trail forks; I recommend going left if you’re going to the lake and not the camp area. The trail is a little dryer and easier to follow to the lake. If you’re setting up camp then go right and you’ll see all the tents (you must cross the creek to get to camp, but you do not have to if you’re going to the lake). Also, there isn’t much shade next to the lake unless you walk around the the far side.
All in all a gorgeous hike, but it’s quite a long hike for just a day. Recommend bringing a filter for the water, it’s nice and cold and refreshing! Would be a beautiful place to camp and spend the weekend, can’t beat the views!

backpacking
17 days ago

Backpacked the shortest version of this loop (Crabtree TH past Grouse Lake to Groundhog Meadow, turned north and connected with the upper part of the trail, and returned past Camp Lake) on June 25-27. Camped at the south crossing of Piute Creek on Monday night and were eaten by mosquitoes. Otherwise it was a lovely campsite and the bugs weren't too bad until about 6 pm, but in the early evening and early morning they were fierce. Everyone we met coming out on Monday told us that the deeper you go in the worse the mosquitoes get. So we canceled our plan to go to Gem and Jewelry Lakes and instead just went to Camp Lake, stayed there Tuesday night, and walked out Wednesday morning. Only mild mosquito activity at Camp Lake at the campsites far above the lake. Lily and Piute Creeks were way down relative to two weeks ago--no wading necessary to cross them. This loop is a nice day hike and a fairly easy one-night backpack trip. We made it two nights only because we really wanted to be out for two nights.

easy trail to bear lake, great trip for dogs! Campsites were pretty filled up by saturday, so i’d suggest leaving early friday morning.

25 days ago

Traveled from the south direction and had lunch at grouse lake. (Great idea) Then camped at Gem lake, mosquitoes were absolutely terrible. Spent the day hiking out and was tormented by them anytime I was near water, other than camp lake. I will go again just at a latter date. But the scenery is beautiful.

backpacking
26 days ago

Completed this over the weekend of June 16-17, 2018 as a two day hike. Camped out Friday night at Crabtree, left early Saturday morning, and came back Sunday at 6pm. We hiked around 11-12 hours each day. There were about 8 wet river crossings we had to do with rather cold water anywhere from 1-3 feet in depth. Light to moderate current. Make sure to bring some good sandals to wear during the crossings. Also had about 5 river crossings we were able to do by walking across fallen trees. Every time we reached a river crossing we would spend 5-10 minutes scouting upstream and downstream for around 100m to see if there were dry crossing options or if the boots were coming off. This was a little annoying, though the ice cold water and the chance to air out and dry our feet every few hours probably helped prevent blisters.

Snow was still to be found near Emigrant Lake and the higher elevations, making it easy to lose the trail at times but never for more than around 50m. Once we got past Gem lake we saw a only few people and a couple of horses. I lost count of how many beautiful lakes we passed. Also had spectacular views of valleys, cliffs, and meadows. Bring DEET, as there are some areas quite dense with mosquitoes.

This is a good challenge to do in two days if you are in shape for it. Otherwise, three or more days would be quite a bit more relaxing.

backpacking
27 days ago

Great trail with lots of varied terrain, incredible views, pristine lakes and tons of fish. I wound up making a side trip around Huckleberry Lake and a second side trip up to Twin Lakes on Yosemite’s northern border. There was still a fair amount of snow at the higher elevations and the creek crossings were a little dicey. The worst crossing (IMHO) was the East Fork of Cherry Creek coming back from Twin Lakes - there was a 2.5 foot in diameter tree spanning the river which was great. Unfortunately it rested high above a pretty torrential set of rapids so if you slipped you’re a goner. Nothing like the fear of death to sharpen your mind :)

Just went this past weekend with my 9 year old. We had a great time and would definitely come back again. Day 1: Crabtree TH to Bear Lake, Day 2: Bear Lake to Granite Lake, Day 3: Granite Lack back down to Crabtree TH

Just completed the loop - backpacking. No snow but mosquitoes are ferocious at Gem lake. Deep Woods Off not effective - we hunkered in our tent for 3 hours til sun went down and skeeters left. I do not recommend camping at Gem or higher elev. for maybe another few weeks? Until they die off. Camp Lake and Grouse Lake (along north and south legs) are 1000' lower elevation and no bugs - good camping right now. Cherry Creek (cross on both the north side and south side of loop) is running about knee high and very cold but not too hard to cross.

Took my 3 pre teens on this hike from Thursday to Saturday. We stayed at the mostly empty campground at trailhead on Thursday night. I recommend filling your bottles up at the bridge, cuz there aren’t any clean water sources after it. It’s 3.5 miles of predominantly uphill, and I could tell that was all the kids could do. Bear
Lake is loaded with fish, and my boys had fun casting lures. Dry wood is limited at Bear Lake, so you got to hike for it. I recommend avoiding the weekend, since there were tons of people heading in, when we were heading out. A great hike that we will surely do again in a few years.

Beautiful hike. We did it on a Sunday and most folks were backpackers heading back to their cars. It was very hot on the way back.

heavily trafficked, not sure why it is labeled as "light" definately bring deet.

beautiful hike. went from crabtree th to deer lake and sayed the night. all in all a great trip.

Weather was nice this last weekend. An excellent hike. A couple mosquitos and some horse poop along the trail is the only downer.

Just got back yesterday. Trailhead is easy to get to. Beautiful loop. The lakes are small, but maybe that's to be expected. The first good place to camp is at Piute Lake, but Gem is even prettier. The creeks were not too hard to cross. The deepest reached halfway up my thigh (I'm 5'4"), but the water is freezing. Found a fantastic campsite at the southern crossing of Cherry Creek. Just walk straight up the granite on the West side of the creek until you can't go up any further. Great view and secluded. Downside of this trail was the amount of people out there. Saw at least 20 people over 2 days.

backpacking
1 month ago

I returned to this trail on 5/11-5/12, during that time it was cold and very windy we only made it to Camp Lake, i still love this trail seeing as it is only about an hour and 30 from my house.

hiking
1 month ago

Hiked up to the top of the third crater and the view was amazing!

Just did a day hike to bear lake with my 70 year father. It is a relatively easy trail with some elevation gains. We reached the lake in about 1.5 hours. We are planning on doing some longer over night hikes on Crabtree.

My goal was to go from Crabtree TH to Gem Lake the first day and then to explore the lakes beyond Gem Lake. Unfortunately, the water at Cherry Creek (about .75 miles from Gem Lake) was to my chest and higher in most spots and I wasnt able to find a good place to cross without having to float my backpack and swim. I chose not to and returned to Piute Lake for the night. Piute was a good spot and no one else was around. Good initial plan, just happened to catch the runoff at the wrong time.

We backpacked from Crabtree to Gem Lake on Memorial weekend as an out-and-back hike using the upper end of the loop. We spent a day hiking from Gem Lake around Deer Lake, absolutely gorgeous area, still covered by 2-3 feet drifts of snow with some clear patches in sunnier areas, so expect slower travel (and beautiful pictures!)

The snow was melting at the end of the weekend. Cherry Creek filled up fast and rose a couple feet on our way back so we camped nearby and crossed in the morning. It came up to our hips even still! Absolutely use caution when crossing anytime soon. Paiute Creek is also rising from snowmelt, but it wasn't as swollen and came up to mid-thigh on us.

I'd recommend this hike to anybody who'd like to get away to a beautiful place! Will definitely be going back later this year - hopefully we'll make it all the way to Emigrant Lake next time!

Amazing place. Camped at Camp lake Friday night (rolling fog, mostly wet) and then went on to Bear Lake. There are more to see to this wilderness and can’t wait to explore more.

Day hiked from Crabtree Trailhead to Bear Lake and back on Memorial Day. Not surprisingly, there were lots of people on the trail the whole way. Great hike though. Unlike what a previous poster said, there were no mosquitoes. Not a single one. Trail was a bit muddy and mushy in places but not bad, and none of the small stream crossings were difficult.

We did a day hike from Crabtree Trailhead to Bear Lake and back on Memorial Day. It was perfect--great weather, neither too cold nor hot, dry and almost completely sunny, and NO BUGS! We never even considered breaking out the DEET. All the streams were easy to cross, but there were plenty of streams alongside the trail for our dog to drink and splash around in, besides Camp Lake and Bear Lake. Crabtree to Bear Lake is an easy hike with only one section that's a little steep. The round trip took us four hours with a number of brief stops. There were lots of hikers and backpackers on the trail on Memorial Day but at other times it's much less busy. One of my favorite places for a leisurely day hike.

main trail is easy to miss. entrance is just before the parking lot

backpacking
1 month ago

Awesome trail! Went for an overnight backpacking trip a week ago. Towards Bear Lake the trail was covered with the fallen trees and melted snow from winter and was a little bit hard to follow but wasn’t hard to maneuver around it. Some elevation gain but not difficult. Beautiful views along the trail, and a small river along most of the hike. There are a lot of good spots to camp along the lake with some fire pits. We had some hail and rain for a few hours once we set up camp but it passed through. Definitely a great overnight spot to camp!

backpacking
1 month ago

Bring lots of insect repellant, the mosquitoes are ruthless and have carried off small pets

hiking
1 month ago

Nice and simple trail, crater was a cool lime green color surrounded by some trees.

backpacking
2 months ago

Hi. We thinking of hiking to buck lake from crabtree trailhead around June 8, 2018... Is this too early? Is the road open to the trailhead? Is there still a lot of snow? Thanks for your time*

Perfect day hike with dogs. Enough people on trail in early May for guidance (as needed), else terrific solitude. Good uphill ascent to get your blood flowing. Will try to stay at the cabins at the trailhead or pack in next time to hike deeper into Emigrant.

Load More